2020 Merit Award Invited Applicant Instructions

Deadline for invited, full applications: Friday, September 24, 2019
Award start date: January 1, 2020
Applications must be submitted via ProposalCentral by the institution’s Grants Officer.

Submit the application your institution’s Grants Officer in enough time to allow them to review and submit it to the AHA by the deadline.

Log on to ProposalCentral and navigate as follows:
Application Administration > Manage Existing Applications

  1. Your Merit Award application will be listed on the screen. Click “Update”
  2. Two sections of the application will require additional uploads. Use the navigation list on the left side of the screen for easy access to the Science/Evaluation and Supporting Documentation sections.

Uploads Required for Invited Applicants

Science/Evaluation Section

Applications will be reviewed by scientists and lay stakeholders. Content should be written so that it is understandable to non-scientists, as well as to scientists who may not have specific expertise within the proposed topic area. The research does not need to be described in the detail that would be expected in an NIH R01, since the track record and promise of the investigator are the primary award criteria.

The application must include the following documents: 1. A summary of the applicant’s major research achievements. This should be written so that a non-scientist reviewer can readily understand the summary. (Not more than one page)
2. A summary of the applicant’s ongoing and planned research program and a statement of why the AHA should support the applicant’s vision. (Not more than eight pages; references and up to one page of figures are counted toward the eight-page limit)

This section should build upon the letter of intent by focusing on how the applicant’s past accomplishments and future vision would:
  • transform and advance the future of approaches to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.
  • move into emerging and/or difficult areas of inquiry, being consistently at its forefront.
  • support creative approaches to questions, encompassing concepts from other disciplines.
  • forge links between disparate disciplines.
  • allow for collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines.
  • generate original and innovative contributions.
  • assist the AHA in becoming a catalyst to achieving maximum impact in equitable health and well-being.
3. Summary of the applicant’s past efforts in support of AHA programs and initiatives and plan for future service as an ambassador in support of the AHA mission, if selected as a Merit Awardee.(Not more than one page)
4. Two references are required from those selected to submit full applications. (see below)

5. Top 15 Bibliography (optional replacement) You may leave the Top 15 Bibliography that you submitted for your Letter of Intent. If you wish to replace this document, please email a pdf of your revised list with your application ID number toapply@heart.org.

Supporting Documentation Section

Reference Letter 1, 2 (4 page limit for each)
Two references are required from those selected to submit a full application. Create two separate uploads. Each letter is limited to four pages. Reference letters are due by 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

Third Party Personnel
(if identified within application)

Format/Type Requirements

The required uploads must each be created as word-processed documents, converted to Portable Document Format (PDF) files, and uploaded within ProposalCentral.

You must comply exactly with the AHA's format/type requirements and page limits. Failure to comply will result in the administrative withdrawal (disqualification) of the application.

  • Only Portable Document Format (PDF) files will be accepted.
  • LOI must be single-spaced.
  • No more than 15 characters per inch (cpi) or an average of no more than 15 cpi (cpi includes symbols, punctuation and spaces).
  • No less than ¾" margins allowed.
  • Sixty lines per page are the maximum allowed. The average number of lines per page using the font and point size below will be approximately 50-55 lines.
    • Windows users: Arial Font style, 12 point font size
    • Macintosh users: Helvetica Font style, 12 point font size
  • Figures, charts, tables, graphics and legends may be smaller in size but must be clear and legible.
  • Three-page limit, after converting your document to a pdf.
Note: the ProposalCentral electronic system will reject a document that exceeds the page limit.

Users of other Word-processing programs must adjust settings appropriately and should measure text after saving and printing as a PDF. Type requirements should be checked using a standard measuring device (such as a ruler), rather than relying on the font selected for a particular word processing/printer combination. Type size specifications must be observed in the text of your research plan or the application will not be reviewed and will be withdrawn. Adherence to font and margin requirements is necessary. No applicant should have an advantage over other applicants by providing more content in his/her application by using smaller, denser type. The AHA has the responsibility to make the final determination of conformance to format requirements and the authority to withdraw applications. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.

Internet Web site addresses (URLs) may not be used to provide information necessary to the review. Reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Moreover, reviewers are cautioned not to directly access an Internet site, as it could compromise their anonymity.

The only place a URL may be used is in the biographical sketch as described in the instructions for that form. Provide a URL to a full list of your published work as found in a publicly available digital database such as SciENcv or My Bibliography, which are maintained by the US National Library of Medicine.

Peer Review Criteria

Since this award mechanism is intended to fund individuals rather than specific projects, peer review criteria focus primarily on the investigator, his/her record of accomplishments, and his/her potential to transform and advance the future of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular disciplines that support the mission and strategic values of the AHA.

Impact on AHA Mission
How effectively does the applicant describe for an audience without a science background how this proposal will impact the AHA’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives? Do past involvement and future plans support the applicant’s description? Is the proposed research of high impact to the mission of AHA? How will the applicant assist the American Heart Association in becoming a catalyst to achieving maximum impact in equitable health and wellbeing?

Consider the AHA’s Strategic Value Proposition that includes addressing overall health and wellbeing, anchored in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health. This might encompass; focusing on breakthrough science and technology; changes in systems and policy; and engaging with individuals to transform communities. Evaluation of this criterion will be influenced by the lay summary section of the application.

Innovation and collaboration
Is the research direction described by the candidate likely to lead to the development of innovative approaches and significant contributions? Does the applicant’s vision challenge existing paradigms or critical barriers to progress in the field? Does the candidate propose new approaches to major challenges in the fields of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular diseases that have the potential to produce an unusually high impact? Does the applicant describe the ability to develop new tools and methods that support creative approaches to questions, encompassing concepts from other disciplines? Does the investigator have the capacity to forge links between disparate disciplines?

Does the candidate have a history of volunteer service and commitment to the American Heart Association, across the breadth of volunteer opportunities? Is the candidate established as an accomplished investigator in the fields of cardiovascular and/or cerebrovascular science? How does his/her record of accomplishment (including funding and publications) demonstrate the future ability to transform the field? Does the candidate have a strong track record of collaboration with other distinguished scientists across disciplines?

Contacting AHA peer reviewers concerning your application is deemed a form of scientific misconduct and will result in the removal of your application from funding consideration and institutional notification of ethical concerns.